Glencore slumps to $US4.9 billion loss

Glencore is the latest miner to report a multi-billion dollar loss.

Another multi-billion dollar loss has hit the mining industry, with Glencore revealing a $US4.96 billion ($6.91 billion) statutory loss for 2015.

The loss, which follows BHP Billiton's $US5.7 billion half-year loss last week, came on the back of $US5.8 billion worth of impairments against Glencore's oil and nickel assets, in particular.

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg has phoned in a multi-billion dollar loss
Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg has phoned in a multi-billion dollar loss Photo: Bloomberg

Glencore's underlying profit was better than expected at $US1.34 billion. Analyst consensus was for a $US1.17 billion underlying profit.

Weak commodity prices have made Glencore's large debt pile hard to service, prompting the miner to try to sell assets.

Glencore said it was still hoping to sell $US4 billion to $US5 billion of assets before the end of 2016 and said it was expecting bids for its Cobar copper mine in New South Wales before June.

The company's net debt has fallen from $US30.5 billion last year to $US25.8 billion.

Aside from Cobar, Glencore's Australian assets include the McArthur River and Mt Isa lead and zinc mine in the Northern Territory and Queensland respectively, thermal coal and coking coal in New South Wales and Queensland, nickel in Western Australia and agricultural commodities in South Australia.

Revenue fall

Despite the Murrin Murrin mine producing 3 per cent more nickel than in 2014, the mine's revenue fell 28 per cent.

Revenue from the Australian zinc mines was down 6 per cent compared to 2014, and Glencore announced production cuts in the latter months of 2015.

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg said the combination of a mining business with a trading business would allow the company to continue generating cash during the lowest points in the commodities cycle.

"Our rigorous focus on debt reduction, supply discipline and cost efficiencies enabled Glencore to record a robust performance in difficult market conditions," he said.

The 2015 year has seen some massive losses from miners, with Vale losing $US12.1 billion and Rio Tinto losing $US0.9 billion.

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